Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


'New Girl' recap: Nick gives Jess her worst, then best, birthday ever

Posted on

New Girl
Patrick McElhenney/Fox

Now this is the episode that should have been positioned as the fall finale, don’t you think, Newbies? It had everything — a touching happy ending, misunderstandings and shenanigans, a glimpse of reconciliation between Cece and Schmidt, Ben Falcone (!), genuine Nick Miller chivalry (followed by the most passionate Nick-Jess smooch we’ve seen in months), something for Winston and Coach to do that resulted in actual character development, and Tran! “Birthday” was New Girl at its most elemental, easily ascending to best-of-season status. I might even put it as one of the top five episodes of the whole series. Agree or disagree?

With the Prince-centric post-Super Bowl episode queued up (next Tuesday’s ep is pre-empted by President Obama’s State of the Union address), I’m actually hopeful that my wild-eyed optimism in the preamble to “Clavado En Un Bar” might not have been that far afield. (And, speaking of fields, what could have possibly inspired Lamorne “Winston” Morris to neigh like a horse during this teaser interview about the next few eps? Hint: It’s kinda dirty.) So let’s not waste another minute before getting into it, Newbies! 

As the episode title suggested, it was Jess’s birthday. Recognizing her expectations of others were too high, she’d established a tradition of watching a movie alone so no one could disappoint her. Nick, however, didn’t want his lady love to endure such a pitiful birthday. He had big plans. Well, one big plan. He had put everything he had “physically, emotionally, and financially” into a huge party that would happen at 7 p.m. Unfortunately, pulling that event together in secret had distracted him from actually planning anything else for the day itself. But Jess was convinced she could be “one of those cool girlfriends who has bed-head and wears men’s shirts and sneakers” and who doesn’t care if her boyfriend doesn’t make elaborate plans for her birthday.

Flash forward to 7 a.m. the next morning: Jess was up like a shot, and Nick was desperate to fill time. He allotted 90 minutes to make an omelette, for starters. Flash forward another couple of hours: After a six-minute breakfast (that Jess prepared to save time), a quickie (what’s the 8:30 a.m. equivalent of a nooner?), a free diabetes test (Nick panicked and took Jess to a drug store), and a ridiculous coincidence that led to Jess accidentally stealing a young child’s birthday party, the birthday girl was more disappointed than ever — exactly what she’d hoped to avoid. She fled home in tears, croaking to Nick, “Don’t follow me!” To be continued…

Back at home, everything was going haywire. Nick had put Winston in charge of getting the cake. He had one thing. And he screwed it up. Nick got a look at the cake decorated with a giant gun, covered in jelly-frosting blood, and emblazoned with the words, “SEE YOU IN HELL, BOOMER!” and he put Coach (who’d secured the decorations) on the case. Naturally, competitive Coach taunted Winston with a kazoo before they mutually challenged each other to a bake-off. Ultimately, they had a bonding moment when their cakes merged, teaching them both a valuable lesson about friendship. (Also, who doesn’t want a double-sized supercake on her birthday?)

NEXT PAGE: Everyone’s dream boyfriends, Ben Falcone and Nick Miller